Nurses urged to whistleblow

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NURSES will be encouraged to blow the whistle on inadequate care of patients.

Today, (Mon) all registered nurses and preregistration nurses in the UK will receive information from the Nursing and Midwifery Council on how to raise any concerns they may have regarding a patient’s care.

The aim of this initiative is to set out principles for best practice and work with local whistleblowing policies and safeguarding procedures.

NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes, said: “Poor care must never be tolerated.

“This guidance will support nurses and midwives to effectively manage risk and empower them to speak out on behalf of the people in their care.

“However, raising a concern is only the first step.  This guidance will only be effective if managers and senior staff are committed to a culture that openly encourages people to raise concerns.”

Acting director of whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work, Cathy James said the charity was is full support of this action taken by the NMC.

She said: “Whether it be an elderly care ward, a maternity unit or in an operating theatre nursing and midwifery professionals should be able to speak up without fear of reprisal if a safe service is to be delivered.

“This guidance will help and we hope employers will also take this issue seriously, providing a safe alternative to silence for their staff.”

Policy officer for the Council of Deans of Health, which represents university health faculties, Catherine Deakin, said: “Nurses, midwives and students should have access to clear information about steps that should be taken when raising or escalating a concern.

“Importantly, the guidance emphasises the need to act promptly, safely and professionally, and to seek advice when uncertain about the process.”

When compiling the guidance document, 16 different organisations were consulted including Care UK, Unison, the National Union of Nursing and NHS employers.

The document explains the process of raising a concern, offers information about legislation and indicates where staff can get confidential support and advice.

Employers will also receive details as to how they should implement the new guidance.

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